There is no doubt about the superiority of FLAC and DSD audio formats. Both of them perform exceptionally in their own ways. They are the front-runners in the race for lossless audio formats. Many claim that the tussle between Flac and DSD is somewhat like WAV/PCM vs. SACD/DFF/DSF. but it is not quite the same.
Both of them might be lossless audio formats, but there are certain differences that set them apart. Today we are going to settle that very debate.
Read on to find out which one is the better audio format: Flac or DSD?
Free Lossless Audio Codec
Direct Stream Digital
Digital to Analog Converter
Filter and sigma-delta modulator
Multi-bit (up to 24)
Single or 1-bit
Up to 384 kHz
From 2.8 MHz
Useful audio range
20 Hz to 24 kHz
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is both an audio format container file and a data compression method for sound recording or streaming.
It is known for its unwavering audio quality, even after 60% compression. Flac is ideal for storing large audio files. Since it has open-source code, users can encrypt their files and also patent them.
Sony and Philips provide high credibility and legitimacy to DSD (Direct Stream Digital). It was initially designed and used for Super Audio CD (SACD).
But over the years, it has become more useful as a computer-based audio format. DSD is characterized by its excellent audio quality, making it ideal for storing and playing back. Being one of the best lossless audio formats with high resolution, it is a favorite for authentic audiophiles.
- Even though both Flac and DSD are amazing lossless audio formats, the difference is very marginal. Especially when you listen to certain Classical and Jazz numbers, the detailing that DSD provides cannot go unnoticed.
- The difference in sampling rate between DSD and Flac is something that overshadows the latter when it comes to its audio quality.
- When compared to DSD, the file size of Flac is way smaller. Some may claim that this is an unfair advantage that Flac enjoys. DSD was not originally designed for compression but rather for analog media (CD). Since Flac has been famous for its incredible compression capabilities, it edges out DSD. The quality aspect remains the same. So, if you are planning on storing your DSD files from a CD on your computer, converting them to Flac will be the right way to go about it.
- While Flac supports metadata and is free-source and royalty-free, DSD does not support metadata and is not royalty-free.
- It is very easy to decode and quickly stream Flac. This is not possible with DSD files.
- Other than being the perfect digital audio format for storage, Flac is also transcoding-friendly. For instance, converting Flac to MP3 is a suitable choice for playback on portable devices. DSD does not provide such flexibility in terms of transcoding and conversion.
- In the case of a one-album music file, Flac comes with cue files that enable users to split it into separate tracks. Once again, you cannot do that with DSD album files.
The comparison between Flac and DSD is an interestingly close one. When it comes to authenticity and naturalness in the audio quality, DSD is the best of the two, hands down. But that's about it. DSD loses crucial points when it comes to user-friendliness and utility.
Flac swoops in to emerge victorious by being one of the best compressed audio formats. It is ideal for storage in large volumes without scaling down its quality. And last but not least, the compatibility of Flac ranges across various platforms and devices, thereby making it a clear winner.